COVID-19 » Return from Winter Break OTC(Over The Counter) Testing Guidance

Return from Winter Break OTC(Over The Counter) Testing Guidance

Recommendation of when to use COVID-19 tests over winter break:

  • If you feel sick, test. Test again 1-2 days later if the first test is negative
  • If you were exposed, test when you find out and repeat every 2 days for a total of 3 tests
  • For return to school, test the night before (or morning of) return AND repeat 2 days later

You can use any at-home test. Bring your MediCal or Medicare card to a pharmacy to ask for free tests, or check with your insurance plan for up to 8 free (or reimbursed) at-home tests a month.

Positive test?




Negative test but COVID-19 symptoms?

  • Stay home from school until you feel better and at least 24 hours after fever is gone
  • Re-check with a repeat COVID-19 test in 1-2 days.  


Reporting at-home test results: 


Reporting at-home test results is not required, but can be a useful tool for schools to track positive tests. People who report a positive test can also get home-care information and access to COVID-19 treatment.


People can easily record At-Home test results and share with the school using the Primary Health Pass app! To enroll your school, complete this form:     Here is more information to get you started:


· Downloading and Using the Primary.Health App Video

· Primary Health Pass Folder: A folder containing printable flyers with download instruction as well as FAQs 

· Primary Health Pass App: Operational Playbook

· Primary Embedded Dashboard Video: A video walkthrough on how a school can access results


You can distribute a flyer to spread the news, and Primary.Health can send custom communications encouraging participants to download the app. Submit via this request form:


OTC/at-home Testing Resources: 

At-home Testing template flyers and other communication materials can be found in multiple languages here: 



Safely Opening Schools (SOS) has also created some valuable OTC/at-home testing materials to share with staff and families: 


The CDPH Testing After School Break Toolkit  has social media and factsheets in English and Spanish to encourage return from break testing.  


For additional questions regarding OTC/at-home tests, please contact: [email protected]